It’s Valentine’s Day, the over-commercialized holiday where affection seems to be measured in how much money your date spends on dinner, dessert, and jewelry.
Most of us are tired of hearing about Valentine’s Day, after all, the amount of money one spends on gifts doesn’t actually determine how much they love their partner.
But it is part of it. There’s a theory, popularized by Gary Chapman, an author, pastor, and speaker, in his 1992 bestseller, “The 5 Love Languages.”
He posits that there are five love languages, which are the way that people prefer to give and receive love. He ran a poll in 2010 on his website, which asked 10,000 individuals that landed on his homepage what their primary love language is.
Here are the love languages and the breakdown:
- Words of affirmation — 23%
- Quality time — 20%
- Acts of service — 20%
- Physical touch — 19%
- Receiving gifts — 18%
That’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with marketing? Well, since each person has a way they prefer to receive love, it makes sense that brands could use that to tailor their marketing to fill those needs.
But how do you provide each of these love languages in the context of B2B marketing?
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are what you’d imagine. In Chapman’s definition, “This language uses words to affirm other people.”
To harness the effectiveness of this love language as a marketing company, you need to consider a couple of different forms of affirmation.
Others Affirming Your Business
According to one survey, 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews.
Peer created content or reviews of your business, content, and offering are valuable for assuring that potential buyers feel they’re making the right decision.
These are words of affirmation about your business, which is more effective than any words of affirmation your company could provide. That being said, there is value to providing your own words of affirmation to your customers.
Your Business Affirming Your Audience
This is reasonably simple.
Tell your audience that you appreciate them. Thank them when they purchase a product or download a piece of gated content.
You can use some of the other four languages to show them, but even thanking them and showing them how important their engagement is to you can go a long way.
Quality times, according to Chapman is defined as, “This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.”
So, to express this in marketing, your job is to ensure you give your audience and customer base your undivided attention.
If your customer is having an issue with your offering, your content, or your website, make sure there’s a way for someone to reach you 24 hours a day.
That doesn’t mean you need a real-life person to be online all night (in most cases). It might just mean having a live chat feature that someone takes responsibility for answering during business hours.
But the thing with a good live chat feature is that it ensures that the person can reach out to you, and they’ll at least get an auto response.
Timely responses to customer and audience inquiries make your customers feel like you care for them, which endears your brand to them.
Acts of Service
On Chapman’s website he says this about acts of service, “For these people, actions speak louder than words.”
We’ve mentioned before that cause marketing and transparent/conscious business practices go a long way with making your audience more loyal.
And that’s because acts are louder than words and your customers want to know that their dollar is doing more than just lining your pockets.
Chapman writes, “To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.”
Okay, but we are talking about business marketing and digital marketing. What is, “appropriate touch” in this case?
I would argue that for B2B marketers to adequately fill this love language, they need to have a physical presence in the places their customers are.
That includes sponsoring events, attending conferences and trade shows, and holding industry mixers/parties. This makes it so you can physically shake a customer’s hand or get a drink and talk to them.
You see them face to face, you can read their body language, and you make an actual in-person impact on them instead of being a logo on a screen.
According to Chapman’s poll on his website, receiving gifts is one of the less popular love languages. I wonder if that’s just because there’s some stigma attached to wanting things from another person, or if that’s actually the case.
Whatever the reason, there is a compelling argument to provide your audience and customers with gifts.
It is one of the easiest ways to win the hearts and minds of your audience and customers.
Give them ebooks jam-packed with value or free trials of your offering. If you have the budget, randomly send your customers to their offices.
When you send leads gifts, you’ll find that they’re more likely to have good opinions of your brand overall. An important part of this is not to expect anything in return.
A free ebook isn’t free if you’re asking someone to fill out a form.
So sometimes, just offer a free, ungated present or a no-strings-attached physical gift to a company you’re courting or already doing business with.
As much as we’d like to pretend that succeeding in business is very different than succeeding in love, that’s just not the case.
Gifts always work, but they don’t need just to be given on Valentine’s Day, and there are four other love languages you can use to endear yourself to potential buyers.
The ways that we give and receive love are the same no matter if it’s a business interaction or an interpersonal one.
Consider using these love languages and their practical business applications to win the hearts and dollars of your audience.
Let us know what you think:
- Are love languages significant enough to support a marketing strategy?
- What can these love languages teach you about marketing?
- What is your favorite love language to use in marketing?